Businesses that Run Themselves

Samuel Mitchell

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Take a close look around. Surely, you’ll come across several businesses that run themselves. I mean, you won’t find any attendants or staff or workers around the business. Yet, these businesses are open round the clock, and you can get superb, seamless service.

There’s a strong reason for some businesses to run all by themselves. Products and services offered by these businesses are in high demand. Hence, they tend to attract customers and require little or even no promotion and advertising by the business owner.

This could make you wonder: can I open a business that runs by itself? Yes, of course you can. Should you have the necessary skills and some money to invest, it’s possible to open any of these businesses that run by themselves. Millions of people around the world are already making lots of money with such businesses, and you could also consider opening one.

If you’re interested, here’s my list of some businesses that run by themselves.

Top Businesses That Run by Themselves

Before proceeding, I will explain briefly the definition of businesses that run by themselves. In simple words, it means a business where you set it up and do some minimal work. Once you’re done, the business attracts customers on its own, with or without ads and software.

This might sound a bit confusing. Therefore, I will provide some examples of businesses that run by themselves. You, too, can try and open one of these businesses to make money while sleeping.

1. Online Courses

Online Courses

Providing an online course is possibly the best business that runs by itself. You can create a course on a platform such as or For example, I have successfully launched a course titled ‘AI Blogging Blueprint Using ChatGPT‘ on Udemy, demonstrating this business model's potential and ease. Once your course is complete, put it up for sale to learners. Anyone interested in the course will subscribe and pay upfront for the access.

Understandably, a platform like will retain its fees and commissions while you get the balance. You don’t have to advertise the course or spend on its promotion actively. Customers can buy the course anytime, even while you are asleep or busy elsewhere. It doesn’t need your presence.

2. Stock Photos & Graphics

sell Stock Photos & Graphics online

If you have an eye for taking wonderful photos or are creative enough to make amazing graphics, you can open a business in this field. Register on any stock photo website such as 123RF,, Shutterstock and others.

Once you create an account, upload your photos and graphics and mention the price and start selling photos online. Anyone who wants your photos or graphic designs can buy them from these websites or take a license to use them temporarily.

In any case, you get paid. A part of the price goes towards fees of these platforms and taxes while you get the balance.

3. Dropshipping


Opening a dropshipping website is somewhat similar to having your own online store. However, the difference is that you don’t keep any stocks. Instead, you simply tie up with suppliers to provide certain kinds of things that you’re selling.

All you have to do is upload amazing photos of the stuff and write attractive descriptions with the price. Whenever someone buys the product and pays, a built-in software on your website retains your margin and forwards the order with payment to the supplier.

In return, the supplier packs and mails the stuff to the customer. This business is online and hence, works on its own even while you’re asleep.

3. eBooks


Do you have a story to tell? Can you write poetry? Or, are you an expert in some field and would like to provide your knowledge to others? If that’s the case, write an eBook and sell it online. This is perhaps the easiest way to open a business that runs by itself and makes money even while asleep.

Of course, you might face a few hurdles when writing a book because of a common phenomenon called ‘writer’s block.’ However, once you overcome this writer’s block, it becomes easier to put your words on paper or computer.

Amazon has a wonderful service called Kindle Desktop Publishing. You can publish your book for free with KDP and sell it via Amazon, too. Amazon retains some fees while you get the royalty for the book.

Also Read: How To Make Money on Amazon Kindle without Writing Books?

4. Blogging


Blogging can become a full-time business that runs on itself, provided you know various tricks and tweaks of the trade. If you’re an expert in some field or hobby or passionate about something, open your own blog.

You can buy a domain name and hosting of your choice or open a free blog, too. Create easy-to-understand and relevant blogposts and upload them regularly.

When you have a certain readership, it’s possible to subscribe to Google AdSense and make enough money. You can also accept sponsored posts and guest ads, to boost revenues of your blog site.

Also Read: 5 Best Google AdSense Approval Tricks For 2023

5. Airbnb Host

Airbnb Host

If you have a house and are willing to rent out a part, register as a host on Airbnb. As a host with Airbnb, your tasks are limited and include only upkeep of the room or the part of the house and ensuring it appeals to guests.

Airbnb does all the work for you, such as promoting the place, finding customers, collecting money, and paying you the rent. 

Visit the Airbnb website and explore various options to become a host.  You can select and register as the host for the plan that best suits your needs.

Also Read:

Other Businesses that Run Themselves

Of course, these aren’t the only businesses that run themselves. There are others, too. However, the other kinds of businesses will require a lot of investments. Some such businesses that run on themselves but need large investments include laundromats, online stores, carwashes, subscription websites, subscription video channels and paid podcasts.

If you have enough money to invest or can get an investor or find venture capital, some of these investment intensive businesses could be just fine. However, the idea behind opening a business that runs on its own is to have an extra source of income without exerting much effort.

1. Vending Machine Businesses

Vending machines are useful to sell snacks, beverages, or other products. Once you install and stock them, they require no maintenance and need only some restocking.  However, they can generate revenue without much effort.

2. ATM Ownership

Owning and operating ATMs can provide a passive income stream. ATM owners earn a fee for each transaction, and while there is some maintenance involved, it's relatively hands-off compared to other businesses.

3. Royalties from Intellectual Property

If you have written books, played music, or developed software, earn royalties from the licensing or sales of these products. Such royalties provide regular income with little effort.

4. Online Content Creation

YouTubers, bloggers, or podcasters can earn money from ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. They have to create amazing and interesting content that people would love to read and watch. This can continue to generate revenue with minimal additional work.

5. Peer-to-Peer Lending

participate in a peer-to-peer lending platform. Such platforms allow you to invest money and earn interest from loan borrowers. This is a risky business in some ways, but you can earn a passive form of income.

6. Automated Investment Portfolios

Robo-advisors and automated investment platforms can manage and rebalance investment portfolios based on predetermined strategies. Investors can set their preferences and let these platforms handle the day-to-day management.

7. Online Marketplaces

Running an online marketplace is very common nowadays. You can sell handcrafted stuff on Etsy or even Amazon. Create apps and sell them on Google Play or App Store.

Also Read: 16 Best Places To Sell Handmade Items

8. Content Subscription Services

If you offer premium content on a blog or vlog, you can get subscriptions from interested parties.  This can generate recurring revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

9. Rental Real Estate

Once rental properties are established with reliable tenants and property management is in place, they can generate rental income with relatively little owner intervention.

10. Franchise Businesses

Some franchise models are designed to be turnkey operations with established systems and support. Franchisees can follow the proven business model with less need for entrepreneurial decision-making.

Wrap Up

You can try some of these ideas to open a business that runs by itself. I would suggest opening such a business with minimal or no investments. However, the business should be attractive to customers. After all, the purpose of any business is to serve people and make enough money.

Investing in a business that runs by itself is fair enough if you have the required capital. As we all know, finding capital is the greatest hurdle when trying to open any venture. Therefore, in such cases, open a free business that works round the clock or the one you can launch with bare minimum investments.

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